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North Shore (Oahu)

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The North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii is famous world-wide for its beaches and incredible surf.


  • Hale'iwa – the busiest and most popular town on the North Shore, with some of the better restaurants and shopping
  • Kahuku – pretty non-descript, but a great place to stop off for lunch, get gas, or pick up supplies
  • Laie – similar to Kahuku, with a few more facilities


The North Shore is a relaxed, laid back area, with a much slower pace than in Honolulu and Waikiki. The beaches are wonderful but very popular, especially when the surf is up! (Note: The North Shore beaches are extremely dangerous for novice swimmers and surfers in the winter when waves can reach as high as 50 feet (15 m). Drownings are common — obey the lifeguards!)

Get in[edit]

The North Shore is located almost diametrically opposite Waikiki. As a result, there are two ways you can get to the North Shore; one is longer but is mostly on freeways; the other is shorter but winds along the coast. Each takes about the same time (about one to one-and-a-half hours).

Route 1: Take Interstate H-1 ewa (west) to Interstate H-201 (also called state highway 78). Take H-201/78 until it re-joins H-1 near Aloha Stadium. Continue on H-1 to the interchange with Interstate H-2 (exit 8A). Stay on H-2 until it ends in Wahiawa, and continue through the Schofield Barracks area. You will be on Highway 99, Kamehameha Highway. Follow Kamehameha Highway to Haleiwa. To progress further up the North Shore, continue on Kamehameha Highway (which changes number to Hwy 83 at Haleiwa).

Route 2: Take Interstate H-1 ewa (west) to Likelike Highway (highway 63). Follow Likelike Highway through the Wilson Tunnel to Kaneohe; then take the exit for Kahekili Highway (Hwy 83). Kahekili Highway becomes Kamehameha Highway at Kahaluu and winds along the coast through the towns of Kaaawa, Punaluu, Hauula, and Laie.

Get around[edit]

Kamehameha Highway (Hwys 99 and 83) is the main road through the area. There is a bypass around Haleiwa called Joseph P Leong Highway which is useful in avoiding the two lane road through Haleiwa. (However, consider following the signs for Haleiwa town to take in the small-town atmosphere of the main town on the North Shore.)

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Waimea Valley [12] has a wide range of flora and fauna. There is also a beautiful waterfall at the end that you are allowed to swim under (bring your swimsuit). The walk is easy on a paved road; no stairs to climb. $15, Children $6.
  • Kualoa Ranch, 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, +1 808 237-7321, [1]. This privately owned ranch is home to the most beautiful and sacred spot on the island. Tours by bus or atv's are available through the lush and epic tropical landscape, which just sort of has to be seen to be believed. It's a popular filming location — Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, Lost, and many others have used it as a backdrop. 1 hr ATV tour, $60.  edit
  • Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie (next to BYU Hawaii), +1 808 293-3333, [2]. Monday-Saturday 12pm-9pm. Since 1965, all of Polynesia in one place. 42 acres with seven Polynesian villages: Aotearoa, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Marquesas, and Hawaii; also Rapa Nui, open ocean voyaging, and hands-on experiences with plenty of aloha. Hā: Breath of life is spectacular evening show. $60 admission only with no dinner and no evening show, $80 with buffet includes evening show, $100 with luau includes evening show, $140 with prime rib buffet includes evening show. Tax not included. Circle isle tours and personal guides for VIPs available, too.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Surf! It's what gave the North Shore its reputation, and still one of the main reasons to come here — Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, and Banzai Pipeline are some of the most well-known. Take extreme care, however, if you aren't a very talented surfer. Pipeline in particular is one of the most harrowing; on a day with big waves the super shallow reef can be deadly if you wipe out.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Shrimp Trucks are spread along the Kamehameha Hwy, and are great places to stop off for lunch. The ones around Kahuku are some of the more popular.
  • Ted's Bakery, 59-024 Kamehameha Hwy (Near Sunset Beach, a little north of Pupukea), +1 808 638-8207. Ted's is a North Shore institution, and if you haven't stuffed yourself with their homemade pies and delicious and filling breakfasts and lunches, you might as well have just stayed home. The mahi sandwich and fried shrimp are particularly tasty.  edit
  • Foodland, 2 locations - Pupukea and Laie. This supermarket chain has 2 branches on the North Shore, and is the likely candidate for self catering. Expect prices to be significantly higher than the mainland.  edit
  • The Proud Peacock, 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy (in Waimea Valley), +1 808 638-5864, [3]. Sunday brunch 10am-3pm; Thursday-Saturday: lunch 11am-3pm, dinner 4pm-9pm, happy hour 4pm-6pm $5 pupus and $2 off drinks. Live music at 6pm. Sunday brunch $10-18, sides $4-7, desserts $8-9, $10 top shelf bloody mary, $8 build your own mimosa; Thursday-Saturday, Lunch on The Lanai: $10-18; Dinner: appetizers $6-11, soups & salads $10-16.50, entrees $16-36, sides $3-7.50, desserts $6-9.  edit
  • Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Grill (Haleiwa Joe's), 66-011 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa (next to Rainbow Bridge), +1 808 637-8005, [4]. Daily lunch 11:30am-3:30pm, Sunday-Thursday 5pm-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 5pm-10pm. Haleiwa Joe’s location boasts views of the harbor, ocean, and postcard sunsets. While the restaurant is casual enough for family dining, the food and service is fit for royalty. It is common to bump into surf celebrities and Hollywood stars dining here in the Surfing Capital of the World. This location is a notable hot spot for live entertainment and late night parties on the weekends. Aloha hour in lounge only Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30, Friday-Saturday 10pm-12am; Lunch: very shareable small plates $5-13.50; sides, soups, salads $4.50-16; plates (add $4.25 for fish monger soup or salad) $13-18; Dinner: very shareable small plates $5-24; sides, soups, salads $5.75-17; plates (add $4.25 for fish monger soup or salad) $17-35; Cafe: pupus $8-24; sides, soups, salads $7-15; Desserts $6-10.25.  edit
  • Matsumoto Shave Ice (Matsumoto), 66-087 Kamehameha Hwy Haleiwa Hawaii, [5]. Matsumoto Shave ice. Shave ice is a tasty treat. Try it with sweet azuki beans!  edit
  • Pizza Bob's, 66-145 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, +1 808 637-5095. An American/Italian restaurant on the north shore in Haleiwa which is popular for both families on day trips and local surfers after their session. They use all locally farmed ingredients which makes their food quite special. A typical entree is around $10-12.
  • Luibueno's Mexican and Latin Cuisine (Luibueno's), 66-165 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, +1 808 637-7717, [6]. Daily 11am-12am. Margaritas $8-12, capirinha $8.50, mojito $9, sangria $8.50, Sangarita Bueno $9, michelada $6, martini $8.50-9.50, specialty cocktails and Lui's creations $5-12, tequila $7-25, mezcal $9-30, bottle beer $4-5.50, wine $7-12 per glass, bottomless sodas $3.75, smoothies $5.50; juices, coffee and teas $3-4.25; tapas $9-32, sopas $7, ensaladas $8-9, burritos $15, tacos $13-17 plate ($5-7 per taco), quesadillas $13-14, sides $3-6, carne $22-29, enchiladas $16-18, plus classics and originals $28 and up.  edit
  • Malama Market, 66-190 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa (along Kam Highway in Haleiwa next to Spaghettini and across from Luibeno's and Pizza Bob's), +1 808 637-4520. 7am-9pm. Only supermarket in Haleiwa at TheBus stop 2243 to Wahiawa and stop 2293 to Waimea.  edit
  • Spaghettini, 66-200 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa (next to and mauka of Malama Market), +1 808 637-0104, [7]. 11am-8pm.  edit
  • L&L Hawaiian Barbeque (L&L Drive Inn), 66-197 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa (across the parking makai of the Waialua Courthouse), +1 808 637-4700, [8]. 9am-10pm.  edit
  • Cholo's Homestyle Mexican (Cholo's), 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa (in North Shore Marketplace), +1 808 637-3059, [9]. Friday-Saturday 9:30am-9:30pm, Sunday-Thursday 9:30am-9pm. Fish tacos, salads, burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, margaritas, beer, and tequila. Free tortilla chips and salsa.  edit
  • Coffee Gallery, 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa (same building as Cholo's in North Shore Marketplace), +1 808 637-5355, [10]. Daily 6:30am-8pm. Free wifi. Coffee beans are roasted onsite. Ono eats.  edit
  • Breakers, 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa (along Kam Highway in North Shore Marketplace), +1 808 637-9898, [11]. 8am-2am. Popular bar and restaurant near TheBus stop 2216 and 2244 to Wahiawa, 2291 to Waimea.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Turtle Bay near Kahuku is the biggest and most well known place to stay, but there are many condos and rentals available as well. From $461 for room includes tax and resort fee.
  • Backpackers[13] 59-788 Kamehameha Hwy, +1 808 638-7838 (TheBus stop ID# 2311 from Haleiwa and 2554 from Turtle Bay) is across the street from Three Tables. Conveniently located few blocks from Foodland and Waimea Bay. From $70 for room and $130 for studio, $30 for dorm bed plus tax.
  • Courtyard Marriot [14] 55-400 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie, +1 808 293-4900, opened in 2015 near the Polynesian Cultural Center where McDonald's formerly occupied. From $260 includes tax.

Stay safe[edit]

Although North Shore seems like a laid back, safe place, one should always exercise caution after dusk. Native islanders can often be protective of their island, tourists should be respectful at all times.

Get out[edit]

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